Gareth Forde

veski innovation fellow

Dr Gareth Forde returned from Cambridge University to join Monash University's Department of Chemical Engineering in the Faculty of Engineering as a Lecturer.

Dr Forde was awarded a veski innovation fellowship worth $200,000 over three years. He took up his position in October 2004.

Research project title:
Plasmid DNA purification for gene therapy and vaccine applications

Research project description:
One of the central challenges in delivering vaccines and gene therapy products is to find a vector that is able to safely introduce the product to the target cells. The use of viral vectors has been questioned due to safety and regulatory concerns over their toxicity and immunogenicity (i.e. MMR jab). This has led to the study of plasmid DNA (pDNA) as a non-viral gene therapy expression vector, which has the dual advantages of being free from specific safety concerns associated with viruses and generally simpler to develop (Scherman, 2001). The proposal is to utilise unique unit operations (affinity chromatography, expanded bed adsorption and monoliths) to develop a patentable industrial process for the production of pDNA. The process will be scalable and commercially viable.

Key facts:

  • In 2011, Gareth accepted the role as National Sustainability Manager with Lycopodium Process Industries where he works on projects in the areas of renewable energy, biofuels, energy efficiency and emissions reduction
  • His work has resulted in two patents: one covering a high performance chromatographic monolith and the second covering an enhanced pDNA growth medium
  • In 2005, Gareth moved into Monash University’s new Bio Engineering Laboratory (BEL), co-funded by veski, to house research at the interface of engineering, biotechnology and medicine

“Our primary goal is to develop a vaccine technology in order to streamline the speed at which vaccines can be produced from six to nine months down to as little as two weeks, whilst also reducing the cost per dose of vaccines. veski has been of enormous assistance in supporting the creation of BEL and in the ongoing support of the research projects.”

Gareth Forde

Monash University